A group from the Palm Tree Santas met for dinner in October at The Shrimp Boat in Valrico.

’Tis the season for perfect beach weather, festive boat parades and decorated palm trees. While it is true that holiday traditions in Florida are unique, most everyone agrees a visit from Santa is a highlight of the season.

If you are looking to see Santa or hope he will make a special visit, the place to start your search is with the Palm Tree Santas Inc. You will find a Santa and peace of mind.

The Palm Tree Santas is an organization of professional Santas and Mrs. Clauses who are all required to submit an annual background check, carry a professional entertainers liability insurance and maintain a membership in the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas (IBRBS).

Bob Elkin, known as ‘Santa Bob,’ is the president of the Palm Tree Santas. In 1993, Elkin first spread joy as a Santa at his granddaughter’s preschool. He soon became passionate about sharing the traditions of Santa in a professional way; Elkin even has a Ph.D. in Santa Clausology. He started Palm Tree Santas in 2006, and the organization was incorporated as a nonprofit in 2011.

“Hiring a member from our website means the client can rest assured they are hiring a trained professional with a background check, liability insurance and a Santa who abides by a code of ethics,” said Elkin.

The number of Santas in the organization varies from year to year, but it is between 125 and 150. In Hillsborough County, there are currently 26 Santas. On the Palm Tree Santas website, Santas can be located by county. Santas are listed with a picture and biographical information. They can be emailed and, in many cases, called or texted. There is a place on each Santa’s page to request a quote from a Santa for a public event. In addition, there is a Santa coordinator who will send a quote on whichever Santa is available.

It’s been 30 years since Elkin portrayed Santa for the first time, and his passion for the role has grown every year.

“Each time a child sees Santa, they seem to light up. The love, the hope and the joy that shows in their eyes and in their smiles warms your heart. I am so very blessed to portray Santa Claus,” Elkin said.

For more information about the Palm Tree Santas, email Santa Bob at santa@santatb.com. To find a Santa, visit https://palmtreesantas.com/.

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